Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Build Yourself a Dream Business: Open a B&B

MS Office ClipArt: buildings, chalets, couples, inns, Swiss architecture, tourists, travelers, an illustration for an article Build Yourself a Dream Business: Open a B&B
Image Credit: MS Office ClipArt: buildings, inns, Swiss architecture, travelers

“Manuel will show you to your rooms - if you're lucky.”
- Basil Fawlty from Fawlty Towers

Ever dreamed of “getting away from it all” permanently? Maybe opening a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) is right for you. And no, we are not suggesting you follow the “Basil Fawlty School of Inn keeping.”

The concept is simple enough: open a room or two in your home to strangers. For a fee, offer them overnight accommodation in a warm and friendly atmosphere along with a nice breakfast.
Whether you’re in The Beaches in Toronto, by the lake in Oakville, up north, or anywhere, doing a B&B right will mean more guests and more revenues.

That will require some serious design and building considerations, whether you are building from scratch or renovating / re-building your existing home.
  • How will you redesign the space — maximum occupancy potential or maximum comfort (even luxury)?
  • How do you envision the common areas, kitchen, and dining room?
  • Bathroom facilities: will they be shared or will each room have their own?
  • Will you have at least one room with an in-suite Jacuzzi (popular with fatigued business travelers and romantic couples alike)?
  • What about a fireplace in each room?
  • Will the rooms have entertainment in-suite?
  • Will you provide internet wirelessly or will you also provide a wired network?
  • Will you offer parking?
  • How many spaces?
If the idea of converting your existing property into a viable bed and breakfast sounds appealing to you, but you don’t know where to begin, you may want to start by calling a contractor who you can trust to help you envision the dream and make it a reality.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: Bed and breakfast
"A bed and breakfast (or B&B) is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and breakfast, but usually does not offer other meals." CITY OF TORONTO ZONING BY-LAW No. 438-86 AMENDED DECEMBER, 2001 Section 6 - Residential Districts
"22. A bed and breakfast establishment is a permitted use provided: (425-93)
(i) a maximum of two rooms are used for the purpose of providing lodging to the travelling public;
(ii) the detached house, semi-detached house or row house within which such establishment is located
is not simultaneously used for the keeping of roomers or boarders; (425-93)
(iii) the bed and breakfast establishment is operated by a person or persons whose ordinary and
principal residence is within such detached house, semi-detached house or row house; and (425-93) (858-88)
(iv) vehicle access is by means other than a mutual driveway. (425-93)" Bed and Breakfast Chart: APPENDIX 6: Page 1 BED AND BREAKFAST ESTABLISHMENTS PROVISIONS OF SELECTED MUNICIPALITIES
"City of Toronto Official Plan defines “Bed and breakfast establishment”- means a portion of residence for lodging the travelling public.
No licensing By-law regulating Bed and Breakfast Establishments." Canada Revenue Agency: Operating a Bed and Breakfast in Your Home

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Helping Women in the Building Trades

Want to have a career in the finishing trades?

Want to have a career in the finishing trades?
Interested? This could be you...
2011 @

"What could be better than providing a necessary building while helping women to build a future for themselves."

Martina Ernst

Our bulletins – Wo-Built's recent involvements in helping women in the trades.

March 2012 Forum for Women in the Trades and New Network of Women in the Trades

Toronto, November 15, 2011 - Wo-Built Inc, represented by Elida Huignard, Vice President of Training, participated in the November meeting to organize the March 2012 Forum for Women in the Trades.

Skills for Change invites the participation of several Ontario Building Trades Unions like the Sisters in the Trades from IBEW353; and professionals associations like CAWIC (Canadian Association of Women in Construction); colleges like George Brown, Centennial, The Centre for Skills Development & Training; the Ontario Works Apprenticeship Committee, SAWRO, the YWCA and On-Track for Women.

Skills for Change and all the above organizations will coordinate the forum where the launch of the Provincial Network of Women in the Trades will be announced, for which Skills for Change has obtained three year funding.

Wo-Built Inc, a private contractor that promotes the training of more women in the trades salutes the initiative and will participate enthusiastically in its development.

Meeting with Sisters in the Trades, at the IBEW353

Toronto, November 16, 2011 - Wo-Built Inc, represented by Elida Huignard, Vice-president of Training, Jane Wilson and Rebecca Anderson from Skills for Change participated in the informative meeting with the Sisters in the Trades at the Electricians IBEW 353 Union Hall.

Skills for Change, who provide learning and training opportunities for immigrants and refugees, requested the participation of the Sisters at the planned March Forum of Women’s Access to Trades. They also inquired about any issues the Sisters see important to be discussed at the Forum.

The Sisters, a lively group of trades’ women consisting of Journeymen (that are women) and apprentices; many which contributed with important insights in the life of women in the trades. These issues will open many venues of discussion at the Forum.

The Sisters in the Trades is a young organization which is attracting women from several Union Halls: electricians, plumbers, painters and carpenters, united to defend the rights of women in the trades.

links: Microskills Annual Report 2011 Highlights: Trades and Technology: Women’s Access to Trades Network
"We launched a Women’s Access to Trades Network, in partnership with several organizations and individuals dedicated to assisting women to get good jobs in the trades. The Women’s Access to Trades Network hosted a "Women in Trades Forum" where more than 80 stakeholders offered recommendations in a report that highlights the need for more leadership and commitment to greater opportunities for women to access employment in the trades. A copy of this report is available on our website. As part of the planning committee for a Youth Trades Fair sponsored by Career Foundation, we designed a very successful Women in Trades Corner aimed at teenage girls." Women’s Access to Trades? Not Even Close! A One-day Forum for Accelerating Change
An invitation by MicroSkills Women Services and several collaborators to review women's progress in the trades and ways to increase women's access and success. Fort York, 250 Fort York Blvd. Toronto, November 25th, 2010 Women in Trades & Technology National Network (WITT NN)
WITT National Network (WITT NN) is an education and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting and assisting in the recruitment, training and retention of women in trades, technology, operations and blue collar work (TTO/BCW) across Canada. Fulfill Your Dreams, and Have a Great Career in the Trades Building Homes - Leading Women into Construction Career Possibilities for Women in the Building and Construction Trades Skills / Compétences Canada (S/CC) is a national, not-for-profit organization that works with employers, educators, labour groups and governments to promote skilled trades and technology careers among Canadian youth. Skills Canada - Ontario is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting the skilled trades and technologies as viable, first-choice career options for Ontario youth. The Ontario Technological Skills Competition & Career Exploration Showcase
1900 Competitors, 30,000+ Spectators, 60+ skilled trade contest areas, Over 325,000 square feet, Elementary, Secondary and Post-Secondary Students
Monday, April 30 and Tuesday, May 1, 2012, Waterloo, ON The Ontario Technological Skills Competition & “Think Skills…Think Future!” Young Women’s Conferences
Mentor Registration: A mentor is a woman who works, trains or teaches in a skilled trade or technology field and is willing to share her positive career experiences with the student participants through informal networking activities.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Building Value in Your Home in Uncertain Economic Times

build value in your home, add value, adding value to your house renovation, collage by

Collage: Build Value in Your Home
Illustration Credits: MS Office ClipArt
House with red roof & Red dollar sign
2011 @

"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."
- Warren Buffet

If all the media hype around “uncertain economic times” is making you shop around for the lowest possible estimate on your building, addition, or major renovation project, you may want to think again.

Any financial planner will tell you one of the safest places to put your cash is in your home. With low interest rates and red-hot prices in Toronto, adding value to your home is a smart financial strategy.

Be advised: buyer beware. “You get what you pay for” is doubly true when it comes to building projects. Ask yourself (or better yet, ask your contractor): how can they promise so much for so little? What does a low price tag say about the quality of materials and labour used? A quality builder delivers real value. Quality is also the original eco-knowhow. Longevity and efficiency mean you save money over time and increase resale value. Adding the latest green technologies will add even more value over time.

Then there’s the question of design. We’re not talking fly-by-night fashion trends, here. You may have to live with your design decisions for years to come. You want a designer who understands this. The truth is good design saves money. Standard cookie-cutter layouts waste square footage. Smart design makes better use of space, and well-designed spaces work as good as they look.

Last but not least, there’s the whole process. A building project (especially an addition) can present challenges you may not have anticipated. Beware estimates that promise low costs with no contingency plans. You may be signing yourself up for more than you bargained for (and less of what you deserve).

You want to choose a design and build contractor who inspires confidence and delivers value, not the short-term high of "getting a deal." The money you think you’re saving today will cost you much more down the road; meantime, you’ll have to live with what you paid for.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

You can read other related articles here: What to Do When You Outgrow Your House? Move or Be Moved? Aspects of Longevity of Design: How to Design Timeless Spaces Construction Statistics and Economic Indicators: Signs for Future Projects Adding Value to Your House – How About Adding Value to Your Life?! Top Renovations That Increase Home Value

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Don’t move into a retirement home; retire your house and stay at home!

The LEGO House, credit: Virginia Tech: Building Construction: Passive Solar Design of Lego Houses
The LEGO House
Image Source: Virginia Tech:
Building Construction: Passive Solar Design of Lego Houses

“Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself.”
Hartman Jule
It’s a beautiful thing: to be able to wake up one day in the neighbourhood you’ve loved and lived in for years and realize: “I don’t have to go to work today…ever again.”

You can take a stroll down the street to the nearby park where you took your children to play. Now you’ll be able to take your grandchildren there as well. You can stroll part the shops near your home in East Toronto, West Toronto, the Beaches, Oakville, or wherever. You’ve shopped there all your life; but you’ve never had the time to really browse until now.

The new backyard garden can be tended while chatting with your neighbours. In the winter you can invite them into your new sunroom for tea. Your friends can reach you and vice-versa as easily as they ever could…no long drives to the suburbs; no gated communities; no “common areas;” no nonsense. Just you, the place you love, and a beautiful new house that you can call home for years and years to come—worry free, designed with every conceivable contingency in mind for your future.

Yes, you have kept the beauty of the family home by retiring the old family house. With a sensible re-design and rebuild of the property (think Lego), you have preserved all the memories and beauty of your existing home, with a brand new living space designed for a comfortable and safe retirement.

Just think of the joy and satisfaction you’ll feel helping your grandkids build a tree house in the tree you planted outside your front door years ago. Now that’s what beautiful retirement living is about.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

You can read other related articles here: Comment about Aging: Adapting Your Home for Comfortable Living Government of Canada: Seniors Canada: Working for Seniors Service Canada: Services for Seniors CARP Canada: A New Vision of Aging in Canada Senior living : How the right home updates help seniors age well at home
"With a few home improvements and modifications, seniors can stay safe at home and live independently for many years."
by ARA Advertorial

Thursday, 10 November 2011

A Truly Liveable Space Needs a Nourishing Colour Palette

Equinox by Hans Hofmann, Choose nourishing palette for your mind and soul, collage by wobuilt.comCollage: Choose a Nourishing Palette for Your Mind and Soul
Image credits: “Equinox” by Hans Hofmann, 1958, painting
MS Office ClipArt: Paint can and paintbrush

2011 @

“The whole world, as we experience it visually, comes to us through the mystic realm of color. Our entire being is nourished by it.”
Hans Hofmann
If the above quotation by American abstract expressionist painter Hans Hofmann is considered in the context of our living spaces, the choice of colour should never be left to a complete stranger.

When Wo-Built completes a building or renovation project, they often deliver a “blank canvas” to their clients. This usually means white walls primed for interior design and finishing—in a word, colour.

So what do you do when presented with a beautifully designed space yearning for a personal expression of colour that will “feed your being” for years to come?

For starters, you might want to read-up on the psychology of colour. Don’t make the mistake of simply going with “what looks nice,” in a magazine or on a colour swatch. Our perception of colour changes over time. To test this theory, go into your closet and find that outfit you’ve only ever worn once.

Generally, colours are categorized as warm (red, orange, yellow) or cool (blue, green, violet). Warm colours enliven and are associated with higher energy, while cool colours promote serenity and tranquility. Blue is especially calming. Red and orange are said to stimulate hunger, while blue is said to curb it. Yellow can be cheerful, while violet promotes creativity, but both can get tiresome quickly.

Another factor to consider is colour combination. A monochrome colour scheme (different variations of the same colour), provides a soothing effect. A little more audacious is a colour scheme based on similar colours. A contrasting colour scheme is most dynamic, with colours appearing brighter than they actually are, and is best suited to high-activity areas like the kitchen; these can also get tiresome.

There is one more approach to consider: let your furniture and artwork be your colour! With some well-placed “accent walls” painted to draw focus and separate spaces, the rest of the space can remain just as it was delivered by Wo-Built: a clean canvas “painted” by your interior pieces; personal style.

Finally, don’t worry about impressing others with your “sense of colour.” Instead, choose a “nourishing palette” for your mind and soul. This will support a truly liveable space. Guests will respond to the positive energy of a space more than they will to a designer colour palette.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

You can read other related articles here: How many paint colours?! Paint Colour Trends 2008... Are you making the most of your investment?
by Sylvia O’Brien Colour for Your Home and Your Life: Intention Of Space
by Lonya Miller

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

When Home Buying, Mind your Manors!

Homeowner's Inspection Checklist, screenshot CMHCCMHC: Homeowner's Inspection Checklist
Conduct your own inspection to keep your home in top condition.
Image credit: CMHC Publications and Reports

The other day we went on a call and encountered a fairly common problem: termites had ravaged the structure of a circa 1940’s bungalow. A bungalow which, we must point out, was purchased recently.

The first takeaway is simple: get a complete professional home inspection before you buy. That means finding a qualified home inspector you trust, and making sure they give you a thorough report on all potential safety hazards: structure, electrical, gas heating (if applicable), etc.

It also means focused inspections of three key areas: moisture, asbestos and termites. But you may have to request the termite inspection specifically; you cannot assume a standard home inspection is going to find them.

Toronto in general has termite infestations, with pockets in East York, the Beaches, West Toronto and North Toronto. A termite inspection might be a good idea when looking at a cottage up north, too. As for moisture, cracked foundations, rotting wood and black mold are not your friends. And asbestos? Come now, do we really need to point out why you don’t want any asbestos in your house?

Of course, home inspectors aren’t psychic! By law they cannot make holes to look inside walls or inspect foundations below the ground (unless you actually own the property). No home inspection is foolproof. No amount of preparation or protection can catch every problem, especially if some problems are well concealed.

Hence the second takeaway: even with a complete home inspection you still may find extensive damage to your property, especially in basement areas.

Furthermore, should you discover problems that were not disclosed to you by the previous owner, you may consider initiating some sort of legal action (and hope you have a friendly banker to finance the repairs in the meantime). Such cases are not to be rushed into, however. It can be a drain on your resources; it’s often difficult to prove any wrongdoing; and, winning it is one thing: getting paid is another matter.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

links: CMHC: Homeowner's Inspection Checklist
Publications and Reports 62114: Conduct your own inspection to keep your home in top condition. CMHC: Home Inspection Checklist
Use this Checklist to review the report you receive from the home inspector. Tips & Advice: Is a Home Inspection Good Enough?
by Leonard Baron

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Relax During Your Home Renovation: Press-Release

Relax during your house renovation, wobuilt.comWo-Built: Relax During Your Renovation
2011 @

For Immediate Release

Wo-Built Inc. Announces "Relax During Your Renovation" Campaign for Oakville

Toronto, (November 1, 2011) – Wo-Built Inc., Ontario’s social, ethical and environmental builder, is about to launch its newest campaign promoting complete quality home upgrades for homeowners in Southern Oakville. The campaign’s focus: relax during your renovation.

“Many people are hesitant to undertake a major building project for the simple reason that they — or someone they know — have had unpleasant experiences with renovation projects in the past,” Wo-Built President Martina Ernst said. “Wo-Built is different. We listen to our clients. Their concerns are our concerns. Our genuine empathy and honesty gives Wo-Built clients greater confidence in their builder and a more relaxed experience.”

Although built with modest sizes and the technology of their day, older houses along the Lakeshore in Oakville (and thru the GTA) can be completely rebuilt to new standards or custom specifications. “Few people appreciate they need not compromise their Lakeshore location in order to have the large home of their dreams,” Wo-Built President Martina Ernst elaborated. “We can transform a 1000 sq. ft. bungalow into a 3000 sq. ft. two-story plus loft, complete with home theatre or legal apartment in a newly re-imagined and bone-dry finished basement.”

Martina Ernst, Co-founder and President/CEO of Wo-Built Inc, is a sought-after contractor, designer of residential and commercial properties, lighting designer, mentor and speaker. She has worked on numerous building projects, both in Canada and internationally.

Wo-Built Inc. is a leader in green building and complete home modernization, with an active social mission to train young women wanting to pursue a life in the trades as well as educating homeowners, commercial property owners, investors and governments. Wo-Built is an accredited Better Business Bureau (BBB) general contractor, a Member of Live Green Toronto, Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and complying with the RenoMark™ ethical code of conduct. To find out more, please visit

Media Contact:
Attila Lendvai, VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build
Suite #3, 1287 St. Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6E 1B8, Canada

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